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20 education program is critical for start-up systems where drivers Safely share the road with light rail vehicles by: are unfamiliar with street railways." Recommendations for · Being aware of where light rail vehicles operate. Buildings, public education and outreach programs from the METRORail trees, etc., cause blind spots for the trolley operator. Traffic Safety Assessment (4) included · Never turning in front of an approaching light rail vehicle. · Maintaining a safe distance from the light rail vehicle if it · Focusing the public education and outreach program on shares a street with vehicular traffic. how and when to make left turns along the LRT line and Looking for approaching light rail vehicles before you turn across the importance of obeying traffic regulations. the tracks. Complete your turn only if a signal (if installed) indi- · Emphasizing in the public education program the impor- cates you may proceed. tance of driving defensively and that traffic regulations Light rail vehicles can interrupt traffic signals, so do not pro- are meant for the safety of the traveling public. ceed until the signal light indicates you may (13, p. 36). · Prominently displaying safety education materials in businesses and commercial buildings in localities along In addition, there is a diagram indicating that motorists should the LRT alignment that had a high rate of noncompliance not turn left in front of an LRV traveling in the same direction with traffic regulations. (Figure 24). · Distributing, by location, pamphlets to passing motorists and pedestrians. Other states, including Texas, Colorado, Oregon, and Arizona, have also incorporated LRT education material into LACMTA has maintained a very active and aggressive their driver's license manuals. public outreach program, which includes visiting schools, public events, churches, and businesses to give presentations and to distribute safety brochures and DVDs. Public education ENFORCEMENT is also conducted through radio and television advertisements. Most accidents appear to be the result of traffic violations Metro in Phoenix is trying to boost public awareness and and driver error; therefore, there is a need for a strong pro- persuade drivers to follow traffic laws before the LRT begins gram of enforcement of traffic regulations. Enforcement servicing passengers in December 2008. Metro has put together should reduce the frequency of violations and resulting con- a safety campaign based on a variety of campaigns used by flicts and collisions with LRVs (4). other transit agencies (12). The safety campaign includes the following: Police Presence · A segment aimed at kids, which is being shared with Assigning police to locations where violations frequently schools near the transit line; occur will help remind drivers to obey traffic regulations. · A DVD that will be widely available and shared with Publicizing the enforcement program will encourage drivers traffic schools; to take traffic regulations more seriously (4). As part of a · Adding light rail information in the Arizona driver's demonstration project in the mid-1990s, LACMTA assigned manual and rail questions on the driver's test; sheriff's deputies to enforce grade crossing safety along the · Increased traffic law enforcement along the Metro line to discourage illegal turns that could result in collisions; · Sending safety brochures to large employers or organi- zations near the track; · Working with professional sports teams to show videos or present other safety information at games; and · Providing information in English and Spanish. State Driver's License Handbooks The California Driver Handbook addresses LRT safety and specifically calls out the issue of left-turn accidents at intersections (13). The handbook states that, "Light rail vehicles have the same rights and responsibilities on pub- lic roadways as other vehicles. Although everyone must follow the same traffic laws, light rail vehicles, because of their size, require exceptional handling ability" (13, p. 36). FIGURE 24 Diagram from California Driver Handbook (Source: It also states California Department of Motor Vehicles 2008).